Thursday, April 24, 2014

International Rugby: 2014 Form June Pumas Squad - Part I Forwards

Photo Rugby 365
Carizza missed June 2013 & 2014
With the European club season entering its final weeks of the regular season it is a final opportunity for many players to push for selection. Argentina will be hosting two tests against Ireland and one against Scotland. Many players will be missing due to Daniel Hourcade not being able to field European based players contracted for the 2014-2015 season whom he wishes to utilize during the 2014 Rugby Championship. In Part one of a three part series Argentina 2023 takes a look at the players likely to be selected to represent Argentina this coming June. 

Players involved in the Rugby Championship who remain contracted to European clubs for the 2014-2015 will not be eligible to play against Ireland and Scotland. Argentina is therefore to be forced into selecting an understrength side to face both Tier One sides for the official test matches which count towards IRB World Rankings. 

The same policy occurred in both June 2012 and June 2013 but will not be repeated after Rugby World Cup 2015 due to the UAR centrally contracting players ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby campaign. As such Daniel Hourcade will be without the services of a number of players this June. His specific selections remain far from known and with him only having been in charge of the team for one tour thus far there is no clear pattern to utilize for the purpose of comparisons. 

June is to be, in other words, a final opportunity for many players to impress ahead of the Rugby World Cup. Players not selected for June or the Rugby Championship will almost certainly not be considered for England and Wales 2015. The Argentine forwards for June will be missing regulars in all postions but there is reason for optimism as players outside of the Rugby Championship combined with some from the Pampas XV can offer quality. 

The Bath pair of Eusebio Guiñazú and Juan Pablo Orlandi has failed to obtain regular game time this season and both would also appear to have dropped behind other players for Argentina. Agustín Creevy is likely to be starting in the Rugby Championship and with Matías Cortese and Santiago Iglesias Valdez both having performed well for the Pampas XV there is immense pressure on Guiñazú. As such Orlandi and Guiñazú could indeed both be free to play in June.

A number of other front-rowers will miss out with call-ups quite likely for players based in Argentina, France and New Zealand. The Pampax XV pairing of Ramiro Herrera and Lucas Noguera Paz are in line for calls ups with the former now starting for Castres whom he joined as a medical joker. Nahuel Lobo is another medical joker in the frame while future Bordeaux-Begles tighthead prop Francisco Goméz Kodela could return and Highlander Matías Diaz is very likely to do so.

Missing - Marcos Ayerza, Maximilano Bustos, Agustín Creevy, Juan Figallo

Two of the top three options will not face Ireland and Scotland. Patricio Albacete with be playing for Toulouse and Gloucester next season thus rendering them out of considereation for June. Also out of the home series cold very well be veteran players based both in Argentina and abroad. Argentina presently has some very bright prospects in the Pampas XV who appear to have the capabilities of being groomed for the post Patricio Albcate era. Put differently the likes of Esteban Lozada, Tomás Vallejos and Julio Farías Cabello, none of whom are young, are not likely to be named. Instead Tomás Lavanini and Matías Alemanno are strong options together with veteran Manuel Carizza. Guido Petti Pagadizabal may also be selected.

Missing - Patricio Albacete, Mariano Galarza

Stade Français medical joker Benjamín Macome has been receiving some quality game time for the Parisian club and is likely to wear the 8 shirt in June for Argentina. Also in the frame are Tomás Leonardí and Pablo Matera whom have had opportunities with Edinburgh and the Leicester Tigers. Leonardí will be playing for Edinburgh next season but is not likely to be included in the Argentine squad for the Rugby Championship and was not selected by Hourcade in November. Matera is contracted to Leicester until the completion of the current season and should therefore be free to face Ireland and Scotland unless he signs an extension or joins a rival club over the coming weeks. 

The trio could see itself starting against the Celtic visitors or one or more could miss out as there are also some notable options based in Argentina. The championship winning Los Pampas XV had a number of back-rowers who made important contributions to the team and will be considered for international duty in June. Tomás de La Vega of Buenos Aires could have earned a test recall as could have Rodrigo Baez. Also to have performed in Australia were back-rowers Javier Ortega Desio, Antonio Ahualli de Chazal and Facundo Isa.

Missing - Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Leonardo Senatore (injured)


  1. What about Matías Díaz?

    1. He should be in the mix despite not having been used regularly for the Highlanders. Likely to start at tighthead against Ireland.